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How to quickly troubleshoot print quality problems

by Kevin Dutton on 03/17/13

Print quality issues are the most misdiagnosed issues I encounter. Often a service call
can be prevented by the customer by just taking 5-10 minutes to troubleshoot the
printers themselves. Here are a few steps you can take before calling us.


1. Make sure the printer is plugged directly into the wall and not UPS.
2. Have you replaced any consumables in the printer recently? If you have and that is
    when the problem started, then maybe you should replace it again with another           new one or an old one.
3. Pull out the toner cartridge(s) and inspect the drum for marks. If you have another
    toner cartridge, replace it to see if the problem persist. If you don't have a new
    cartridge, try a old or empty one. Or just borrow one from another printer.
4. Look into the cavity in which you removed the toner and inspect the rollers and
    paper path for excess toner or debris. Be careful not to touch any rollers or drums
    with you fingers. Use a clean cloth or towel to wipe inside.

5. Perform steps 1 and 2.
6. If the problem is involving more than one color then look at the transfer belt. The
    problem could be a fuser issue, but for most customers this would be the time to         call us.
7. Perform steps 4 and 5.
8. If the problem appears to be an alignment(or focus) problem, then run a                     "Calibration" if it available on your model. If none these steps fix your issue, then         call us and we can take it from there. You can feel safe that you have done all that       you can do.

Should I repair or should i Replace?

by Kevin Dutton on 03/10/13

This is a decision that every business has to make, sometimes many times a year. My general "Rule of Thumb" for this is, if the cost of repair exceeds 40-50% of the cost of a equivalent replacement, then it is time to think about replacing it. There are several other factors to consider though.

1. Do you have an inventory of supplies for the defective printer? If you cannot use these supplies for another printer then they will go to waste and must be included in the cost of replacing the printer.
2. Keep in mind not all printers are created equal. For example, a HP LJ4350 from 2007 that is properly cared for will print longer than most printers made today. It is my opinion that most printers made today are not meant to last 10 years like some previous generations.
3. If you replace the printer will you also have to replace the computer due to a connectivity issue (ie. networked, parallel, USB,)? Check this first.
4. Are you running any proprietary software that limits what printer is used with it?
5. If you decide to replace the printer, always price out the cost and page life of all consumables. Also, find out if the consumables that come with the new printer are "full" or just "starter" consumables.

If you answer all of these questions before making a decision then you can be sure that you are making an "Educated and Well Informed" decision.